The City of Columbus “Smart Columbus” vision

The City of Columbus “Smart Columbus” vision won the U.S. Department of Transportation $40 million Smart City Challenge in June, 2016 after competing against 77 cities nationwide to become the country’s first city to fully integrate innovative technologies – self-driving cars, connected vehicles, and smart sensors – into their transportation network. Columbus was also awarded an additional $10 million grant from Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc. to accelerate the transition to an electrified, low-emissions transportation system.

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Smart Columbus will:
• Improve access to jobs through expanded mobility options in major job centers
• Better connect our visitors to transportation options
• Compete globally through smart logistics
Connect Columbus residents to safe, reliable transportation that can be accessed by all

Columbus has built an unprecedented culture of collaboration. By knocking down silos and building partnerships, Columbus has quickly become one of the fastest growing cities in the country, leading the Midwest in job and wage growth. The City of Columbus is matching the USDOT and Vulcan grants with $90 million in pledges from public and private sector partners.

Columbus will become the nation’s epicenter for intelligent transportation systems (ITS) research to improve safety, enhance mobility, create ladders of opportunity for those who may have been left behind in the past, and address climate change by reducing emissions.

WHAT IS THE SMART CITY CHALLENGE?The Smart City Challenge is a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to encourage mid-size cities to create innovative solutions for the future of urban mobility.  The grant includes $40 million from the USDOT and another $10 million from Vulcan, Inc. to incorporate electric vehicle structure.

WHEN WILL THE GRANT BE DECIDED?Columbus was announced as the winner of the Smart City Challenge on June 23, 2016!

WHAT DOES WINNING THE GRANT MEAN TO COLUMBUS?It means new opportunities for our most vulnerable residents, economic development and an enhanced, sustainable transit system.


HOW DOES AN ENHANCED TRANSIT SYSTEM HELP THE MOST VULNERABLE CITIZENS OF COLUMBUS?One of the biggest barriers to breaking out of poverty is transportation to jobs, healthcare and education. Some of our neighborhoods are literally cut off from the city’s avenues to prosperity because the residents can’t get to work, to doctor appointments for themselves or their children or to education centers.

Our #SmartColumbus proposal includes real-time bus schedules so trips can be planned up to the minute, and first-mile/last-mile solutions for getting people from the bus stop to their destinations with Uber, Car2Go and new ride share/bike share programs. Plus, these will be cash-based systems for those citizens who are “unbanked” or don’t have access to debit cards and smart phones.

HOW WILL #SMARTCOLUMBUS IMPROVE THE EXPERIENCE FOR VISITORS TO COLUMBUS?We will develop a smartphone app in conjunction with Experience Columbus to make event-specific traffic, parking and transit options real time. For example, visitors to the convention center who wanted to attend a performance at Ohio Theater could see the most efficient routes for walking or driving, parking options and all available transit systems from busses to cabs.

HOW WILL #SMARTCOLUMBUS HELP ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN COLUMBUS?First, it will help truck routing with real-time traffic information. Columbus is the 7th most active foreign trade zone in the U.S. Smart Cities will improve routing for trucks in the area.

Second, we expect #SmartColumbus to sprout new companies to develop and implement the transportation technology. We also expect existing companies already in the fields of smart transportation to want to relocate to Columbus which will become the Silicon Valley for transportation. Our city will be a model for other mid-size city’s transportation dreams and the businesses that will make them a reality.

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